Rendered Venison Fat (Lard)

photo (47)Venison fat, like the fat of most wild game, has a bad reputation. Depending on the diet of an animal, fat will have a wide variety of tastes. For example, Mule Deer in Western states who have been eating predominately sagebrush diets have one of the worst reputations. Though, after experimenting with samples of venison fat from our Whitetails in the Southeast who rely heavily upon mast (acorns) to pack on fat, we have found most of this venison fat to be very neutral in flavor, which is perfect for cooking fat. Using fresh fat trimmings, the fat was rendered and filtered through cheesecloth (to keep meat particles out) and tested as a source of cooking fat normally reserved for butter or pork lard. The results? Surprisingly good.

As we are constantly searching for ways to make venison dishes taste more like, well, venison…. and less like bacon or other dominate fat sources, this is the purist approach. Likewise, having a reserve of wild game cooking fat cuts back on the grocery costs of having to buy butter, lard and oils, not mention ups the yield of your deer kills.  Give it a try. Start by smelling the fat trimmings and even sampling a tiny bite. If the flavor is neutral, render the fat as you would bacon.

Images by: Grant Me Access

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12 Responses to Rendered Venison Fat (Lard)

  1. Neal Zeller says:

    Good post. Too many hunters fall into the more bacon the better camp. I love bacon, but it’s an aggressive fat that can mask the flavors of venison or elk. I can certainly vouch for the funkiness of muley fat though. Most times it’s better to trim it close and replace it with something more neutral.

  2. Pingback: Venison Leg Takedown |

  3. TAFKAP says:

    Have you tried simmering the fat in water first? It worked well for me.

    • Go Carnivore says:

      Yes, you can do that. I added some water to the skillet on the first batch. You can also do this in a dutch oven or crock pot if you have enough fat to warrant such a large vessel.

  4. timberjack86 says:

    Vey cool!! Cant wait to try it

  5. Meredith says:

    What a great idea! I’ll definitely give this try, especially with the rendered fat from venison stock.

  6. tree says:

    i render it and then melt in water, cool, take off the solid fat and do it again at least twice depending how much meat was mixed in.. whether it is deer pork, or other fat it comes out clean and almost tasteless .. Works well in soap, or cooking.. As it is nice and clean and ready for whatever you want it for.. back when women made soap in the old days if they didn’t clean it first the soap would be bad and go rancid.. That’s what gave it such a bad rap for awhile..

    • Sherrie Hagenhoff says:

      What does it mean to render then melt in water? How do you do that? First time here. I just put the liver in to soak and waiting to get my hands on the fat to render. Yes, we’re saving bones this time too. Hubby thinks I fell off the deep end at the moment.

  7. BJ Kroppe says:

    I rendered some kidney fat from my Michigan buck this year. It is excellent! As the article says, the fat is very neutral in flavor. Deer in Michigan eat a lot of acorns, ag crops and other stuff, generally good tasting. I wasn’t able to get much fat from this deer in November. Maybe deer harvested in early October would have more fat. Thanks of this article!

  8. Thomas Goltz says:

    Gentlemen, game-eaters

    This question about ‘game lard’ has nagged at me for year, but this is the first time I actually started to investigate the subject (for the the very good reason that I am in the very last stages of stock-reduction from deer/elk/antelope season 2015 here in my Montana kitchen).

    In short, I have not bought a piece of cow for more than 20 years, and exist (meat-wise) exclusively on game that I I kill, butcher and package. I also religiously ‘do the bones’ for stock; the shag ends up as dog-food for my pals’ critters.

    And that it is my point: after I de-bone and cool ‘the product,’ I am left with what I call ‘the cake’ or far/lard coagulate on top of the stock/jelly. For YEARS I have asked myself why I toss this natural product. For Example: why not use this lard instead of pork or cow when I grind the burger?

    The only thing I can say is that ‘tradition’ intervenes, IE: everyone says that ‘Yuck! Game fat don’t taste any good…’, etc, so it gets tossed.

    But this year I am holding on to at least a portion of my game-lard in hopes of making use of it.

    By odd coincidence, I bought a block of ‘Sala’ (Russian/Slavic salted pig fat) at a Bosnian (?!) market in Fargo, North Dakota–and it was delicious, naked on bread or used as fat for fried eggs.

    Once rendered, what is the difference between game lard and pig lard?

    Please advise.

    Total Use Tommy

    • Go Carnivore says:


      Sorry for the delay (I’ve been out hunting Coues deer). That’s actually a great question. The best way I can answer it is to say that the difference between game fat and domesticated fat is roughly equivalent to the difference between game meat and domesticated meat. It’s going to vary quite a bit from species to species and even animal to animal. Best thing you can do is experiment with it. Try cooking some eggs in the fat first or make some salad dressing. If nothing else, you could make soap 🙂

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